Providing business intelligence with better strategy,
D2L helps clients for smarter business decisions & respond more quickly to market force
Being a contributor in the true research of the drug discovery cycle was a collective dream the four of them had in common. That passion brought them together on a platform to work to their goal – a pronounced solution for the various drug discovery stages in the health care and Pharma.
D2L Pharma Research Solutions was incorporated in July 2007 which started with a humble launch in a small house at Whitefield, Bangalore.
The brainchild was an inception that flourished from the founders — Dr. Sashi Kiran Kode, Deepak Harikrishnan, Shekhar Gupta and Ravikant M – hailing from an experienced Medical and Pharmaceutical credentials, which brought a unique set of skills that seamlessly synergized to start a saga of success that never faltered. The initial days were a tough time for them to buy even a laptop for their daily operations.
With its genesis in a tiny house with just four committed minds determined to serve their clientele and contribute to health care research, D2L needed just a few years of unflagging growth to evolve into a full-fledged company. They strived to drive the company to become an end to end solution service provider for the Global Pharma – with a tag line – “Discovery to launch”.
Their bold decision to enter the Pharma Business Intelligence and Consulting services blended with the Clinical Research at the right time enabled them to reach greater pinnacles within the first three years.
The Secret of Phenomenal Success – Aiming the Right Opportunity
The team very quickly kicked off working with the Global players providing consulting services like Primary, Secondary Market research, Forecasting, Competitive Intelligence and KOL Analytics.
Fortune smiled on the brave entrepreneurs as early as the first year of its inception, with the right catch and they never looked back. The one-room enterprise now evolved, in less than five years, into an expansive company with more than a hundred employees sharing the dream of the founders.
Exploring a wide gamut of choices, the Company found its sphere in identification, mapping and KOL data analytic space (Key Opinion Leaders for the Global Pharma and Medical Agencies across the Globe). New business started flowing in from EU, UK, U.S and Asia-Pac markets adding more and more clients coming in with capricious requirements. The team’s prompt responsiveness and deliverables helped them stay as loyal clients even to the extent of more than 90% retention.
The team worked meticulously to understand and adjust to the requirements of each and every client thus developing newer strategies in optimizing resource cost. Right from the beginning, they could successfully offer timely and precise deliverables.
The management solely attributes this achievement to the team’s hard work and commitment which they assert has boosted the corporate performance towering them as the top KOL leaders in the world. The directors also affirm that one of the foremost reasons behind their success has been – keeping the teams updated with the newer technologies and platforms that could make results highly promising to the Global Pharma and Medical Agencies. Innovative methodologies and newer data metrics have been a constant prodigy by the various teams to attempt for successful solutions in KOL analytics.
It was at the right moment that the management realized the time for bifurcation of the corporate into two – Business Intelligence and Clinical Research divisions (D2L Clinical Solutions) for more focus and to capture better market opportunities. The two key areas then advanced that opened up the present and reached out to the future. The corporate successfully managed to re-organize the team that is now perfectly placed to meet the varying demands of a connoisseur clientele.
The perpetual successes of the company positioned it in an independent growth path that needed no funding from outside, thus the four founders were truly self-made entrepreneurs keen to help clients arrive at their best choices.
“It is highly important to keep the team constantly motivated and simultaneously skillful with the happenings in the industry. We have ensured to maintain the culture happy and a productive work place at every moment. We engage everyone in an exciting event and sport every week that brings the teams closer. Each event is celebrated in its own way; of course no business debated those times, that’s a great fun-time”; smiles Mr. Shekhar Gupta, COO, D2L Pharma.
The KOL Business – Identification and Profiling
Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), also called Key Thought leaders (KTLs) play a pivotal l role for pharmaceutical companies during different stages of the drug life cycle.
Pharmaceutical companies collaborate with KOLs to identify new research areas or drugs and to conduct preclinical studies as well as clinical trials. KOLs are also involved in regulatory approval processes; refine strategy for faster market infiltration, to name a few. Thus, KOLs are important forerunners for market penetration of a new drug and hence, sales representatives of pharmaceutical companies frequently engage with KOLs for their market launches.
Each step of the drug life cycle being a costly affair, also carries risk, either during the regulatory approval process or to overcome market competition. Thus, selecting the right KOLs becomes vital for a pharmaceutical company.
The right KOLs for every situation
Different healthcare professionals (HCPs) and stakeholders act as KOLs at different stages of drug life cycle. During research stage, a pharmaceutical company will need scientific researchers with high research experience in the area of interest, while during a drug launch; physicians with high influence across the community will act as KOLs. Thus, the very definition of KOLs is context-dependent, and so should be the process of finding them.
“Identifying the right KOLs is an ongoing challenging process and as the networks of industry influencers are built and connect with more over time, the process becomes even more complex. We need to track and identify the accomplishments of the OL s in the ecosystem those best suit to the client’s success,” says Mr. Ravikant Marella; Managing Partner EU and Asia-Pac markets.
After the initial list of KOLs has been developed, an in-depth profiling, constant tracking and evaluation of the data are necessary to develop strategies for branding.
Often KOLs are selected more for their high prescribing habits than for their knowledge or other attribute that would enable them to influence their peers. Physicians are more interested in true thought leaders who have credentials such as academic standing and/or have performed clinical trials.
Drug companies are broadening their KOL targeting, reaching beyond specialists when targeting medical leaders to further develop their existing products. Among 36 companies recently surveyed, nearly four-fifths targeted multiple types of Key Opinion Leaders from specialists and subspecialists to primary care providers, preventative medicine practitioners and nurses. These surveys concluded that companies’ understanding of the movers and shakers in the healthcare community is growing and no longer bound by the customary understanding of who holds the mastery in the medical community.
Pharmaceutical companies spend on average 24% of their total marketing budgets on KOLs, and this turns out to be well financed. Targeting correct KOLs can increase the revenue of Pharmaceutical companies by as much as 18% -20%.According to the global MSL survey conducted by MSL Society, KOL Management is the top activity in which MSLs spend the most time.
D2L evolves as a KOL leader:
D2L KOL and data services:
D2L KOL Data & Services allows teams to accurately identify the right KOLs around the world and maximize coverage. It also delivers in-depth KOL profiles to personalize all interactions. Interactive relationship maps and hundreds of segmentation overlays, coupled with expert services, help to develop highly targeted engagement plans in each therapeutic area. All data is meticulously validated by specialized researchers around the globe to ensure ongoing completeness and accuracy.
The company has now thoroughly evolved and established itself with a vast experience after delivering diverse intricate projects in various therapeutic specialities and sub-specialities. In the last 10 years, the team has identified and profiled over 25000 experts, more than 10,000 Associations, exceeding 2000 patient advocacy groups for all the indications combined.
Having an extremely strong dataset and reforming its strategies each time, the team now handles any type of project with efficient planning and timeline delivery. The various KOL metrics developed by them is now designed to facilitate relationship-building that is productive for both sides.
“We tried maximizing our data points at each and every step which was though a staggering task, initially, now has been a great asset to the teams to deliver the best. Clients obviously have varying requirements in various markets. Sometimes timelines are grim and critical; however we managed to streamline our process with time using our tools that has kept our clients extremely satisfied,” says Mr. Diwakar Bhosle, Senior Director – Operations at D2L Pharma.
A specialized team engages to train the newly joined analysts to join the group rapidly with notable skill sets. An exclusive QC team executes for a perfect deliverable specific to the client’s requirement even during constricted timelines. Various tools and methodologies have been internally developed by all teams to fit any unpredictable requirements of the client’s needs.
The Stakeholder Nexus System: Proves to give overwhelming results
The team very soon developed an efficient system with a Global Stakeholder database and the key data needed to make informed decisions proximately with each profile also tagged with all the necessary core attributes for the Pharma along with other medical affiliations, languages, and education. The entire HCP/HCO database is timely verified and updated regularly on monthly/ quarterly/ yearly to ensure that clients never miss any information related to the interested stakeholder.
“This cloud based application developed by our team has been a quite exceptional one and has played a magnificent role in our identification and mapping process. It is certainly one its kind in this space. All the teams have advanced by major cost and time reduction using this. It moreover enables to overview the entire comprehensive stakeholder spectrum involved in a particular therapy indication” says Mr. Deepak Harikrishnan, CEO, D2L Pharma.
The Speaker-Max Tool:
A specialized and a dynamic tool developed by the internal team at D2L helps in precise identification of the speakers to be engaged by the pharmaceutical companies with stringent compliance in every highly specialized areas. It not only helps to strain cases of noncompliance but will also help a Pharma company to more efficiently manage speaker engagement programs, in turn making them more effective. It will also enable the company to identify the gaps in its compliance systems and processes – and help it define the guidelines required to close them.
The team at D2L initiated a unique method of influence patterns among healthcare stakeholders by mapping the interactions among the healthcare providers and stakeholders. This gives an exclusive perspective of the indication and helps customers to connect with the right expert.
Influencer or Stakeholder Mapping: Evolving a Newer Methodology
Influencer Mapping enables to get the right KOLs rapidly. A KOL mapping chart helps to identify the right experts and Thought Leaders who influence their peers in a therapy area and provides a high-end sophisticated views of the complete KOL group.Using its mapping system, D2L could deliver several assignments successfully helping their clients gather the right information about the right influencer drilling down to global, national, or regional level. The system been further worked upon to come up with two versions – Static Mapping and Dynamic Mapping.
The Social Network Analysis Tool (SNA): An Opus in Social Interactions
Social network analysis (SNA) creates visual maps of how people organize themselves socially, but it can go much deeper than that by applying metrics to gauge relative levels of social prestige and influence, and patterns that affect interactions. Social network analysis is an influential and sophisticated tool that comes with its own set of best practices touching many departments within the establishments using it. Social network analysis enables the company not only to explore new unmet needs in the market but also find KOLs in various networks and organizations.
Tool for Identification and an in-depth profiling of Health Advocacy Organizations (HAOs):
HAO s are among the most influential and trusted stakeholders in highly regulated markets, pursuing an agenda that includes expanding government support for medical research and the availability of health care services. In addition, HAOs and Patient advocacy groups advocate for members’ unrestricted access to all drugs, devices, and diagnostic tools relevant to their health conditions, at times deciding branded drugs v/s generics, new screening technologies over older ones, and open formularies rather than closed ones. These positions closely correspond to the marketing aims of pharmaceutical and device companies.
The team at D2L developed a specialized structure to identify and profile the right HAO s and individuals to target the perfect audience. The tool enhances the team to identify and shortlist the immediate target groups which typically includes cancer associations, cancer patients organizations, Diabetic, Cardiac and Medical associations, cancer experts and other health-care professionals, faith-based groups, opinion leaders, the media, international leaders, entertainment and sports personalities, teachers, professors and researchers.
D2L develops Key Performance Indicators: (KPI index)
The team at D2L has evolved its own KPI index defining or identifying the various metrics and credentials pertaining to each influencer. These KPIs would be based on the relevant laws, regulations, policies, standards, procedures or contractual obligations, academic interests; etc who can best suit the organization’s need. Inclusion criteria also involve the CIA, the Sunshine Act, the Pharma code on interactions with HCPs, and the Pharma company’s own internal regulations and guidelines.
The Forthcoming Product Line and Future Strategies:
With a future strategy to target the Global markets, the company is on a rigorous innovative mode and plans to launch many more unique cloud-based systems and applications very soon.
- The Complete Nexus:
A complete sweep of secondary data available for an indication enables to gather information as quick as possible. It not only focuses on practitioners but also regulatory experts, Nurses, Pharmacists all the stakeholders. It goes further beyond to identify the emerging leaders (also called the “Rising Stars”) across the ecosystem. A unique methodology is being applied to develop this product – analysing publications, tracking the experts in mid-level positions in key associations, following experts presenting specific data at international assemblies, and so on. The system would give a great impetus to the organisation covering almost all the indications. The company stands more positive after it bagged an early successful sale during the product’s developmental stage last year itself.
- The HCP Ecosystem:
HCP Ecosystem is a refined version where-in Experts in an indication are identified using Nexus and profiled on 15 essential activities. These profiles are in readily usable format on cloud system available on annual subscription model. When launched this system is expected to hold more than 30,000 profiles for all the major therapy segments and sub- indications.
- SRM (Stakeholder Relationship Management):
The company plans to launch its exceptionally designed version of a dynamic cloud based platform wherein the client can out-license it with a long-term contract. The application is being made user-friendly to enable any customer across the Globe to login, view and download the essential data in their requisite formats. This system also gives customers the advantage of dynamic scoring wherein they can themselves weigh and rank within the catalogue. Presently, a specialized team at D2L now works on this, scrutinizing the usability versions of the application and the team is set to launch it by the end of the year after the IP process.
“We are quite sure how big this SRM application would hit the markets. This is certain to come out as a breakthrough in the industry. Though we are quite eager, as of now we want to focus on its development to evolve it as the best application available” says Mr. Ravi Marella.
D2L Eyes on KOL Engagement Program Space
With a phenomenal success in developing a strong structure and KOL delivery systems, the team now strides to venture into the KOL engagement arena.
As a result of the large number of potential OLs with whom a life-sciences organizations work, enterprise-wide adoption of key relationship management is an essential part of any KOL and collaboration planning program. Sales Force and marketing teams, clinical research and contract research organizations (CROs), and medical education and Clinical affairs groups have contact with KOLs on a regular basis but generally lack a reliable way of tracking these KOL relationships. The consequences of mishandled relationships can cost a pharmaceutical or life-sciences company millions. In addition, any KOL management program must adhere to a commitment to adjusting events, plans, and objectives as the market changes.
Although specific KOL management criteria vary depending on company size, type of therapy, and adoption within the market, they generally involve the same critical principles.
“To engage the KOL most efficiently, companies must develop a systematic approach to KOL identification and profiling, and D2L thus plans to leverage its expert advantage as the team perfectly understands the capabilities and role of each individual influencer in the complete ecosystem and thus can develop strategies to its clients” states Dr. Sashi Kiran Kode, a Surgical Gastroenterologist and the Managing Director of D2L Pharma.
D2L Clinical Solutions evolves as the fastest growing CROs in India:
D2L Clinical Solutions is a Spin-off Company of D2L Pharma Research Solutions with major focus on the Clinical Site Monitoring and management. D2L handles end to end solutions from Phase II to IV trials for domestic and Global companies in various healthcare sectors.
Clinical Operation is a highly regulated industry, and there are many complex facets, functions, and committees involved in the planning and execution of a clinical trial. Being highly regulated the CROs that are not up with required compliance are cleared out; moreover SOPs, compliance validation, rigorous documentation, Subject recruitment, Ethical adherence, etc; are very essential for a successful trial close-out.
In a span of a year, leveraging on its earlier grasp, the company evolved as one of the fastest growing CROs offering services and gained a vast experience working with Multinational & Domestic Pharmaceutical in several therapeutic areas.
The organisation became more appealing by offering services in the Vaccines, Respiratory, Cardiology, Gastroenterology and Herbal studies. The successfully emerged CRO now claims to have executed almost 45 studies in a lesser time frame with most of them for WHO submission.
The company could overcome the turbulent times of the industry and withstood the complexities of the markets with perfect planning and management. “Budgeting, training and selection of the sites and their investigators has always been a key factor to our success,” says Mr. Shekhar Gupta, who also overlooks the operations at D2L Clinical.
“We never failed to compromise Ethics, Integrity and Regulatory compliance when it came to successfully executing complex trials which has now made us establish as one of the key players in the CRO industry today,” says Mr. Dheeraj, Manager – Operations at D2L Clinical Solutions.
With 7+ years of extensive experience and expertise in Clinical Research, Today, D2L strives in outclassing to use the best technologies that support its trial execution and management of Phase I – IV global clinical trials across a broad range of therapeutic areas.
CSR activities of D2L Pharma: Establishing a Legacy of Community Building
D2L Pharma’s core value emphasises on solving problems through the power of business. Extending this ideology, it has been trying to solve social problems and help build a stronger community. Since its inception in 2007, D2L Pharma’s Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) activities have been rooted in the knowledge that the company has a duty to give back to the society and contribute towards making people’s life easier in its own humble way. The company has been crafting a legacy to sow the seeds of community building through a wide variety of community development efforts and activities.
Reaching Out to the Community: Over the past decade, D2L Pharma has established itself as not just a strategic solution provider, but also as a company that cares. The corporate strived to actively involve in sponsoring the New Ark Mission, a foundation that cares for the dying destitute in Bangalore. Its commitment towards ensuring a healthy society initiated to work with Karunashraya, a centre for advanced cancer patients providing care to terminally ill-patients.
An extended support is being offered to sponsor needy children for their better education and supporting the Akshaya Patra foundation, an ISKCON run foundation that feeds millions of children. It has worked for occupational training the physically challenged individuals to make them self-sustaining and caring the aged at an old-age home at Bangalore. There is now a strong drive making arrangements to engage in a project to serve a severely drought-hit village in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh state.
The D2L Pharma Story: So Far, So Good
Since its beginning in a tiny room with just four committed minds determined to serve and move up in the world, D2L evolved into a full-fledged company over the period of time. The unbroken success of the company positioned it in an independent growth path that needed no funding from outside. Thus the four founders were truly self-made entrepreneurs. This is a quantum leap and the success story of D2l Pharma will always continue to inspire many budding entrepreneurs “to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”